An unprecedented and scathing report

A UN committee has come down on the Vatican like a ton of bricks over the Magdalene laundries, RTÉ reports.

The UN committee on the Rights of the Child said the Catholic Church had not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases such as the Magdalene scandal, where girls were arbitrarily placed in conditions of forced labour.

In an unprecedented and scathing report, the UN also demanded the Vatican “immediately remove” all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and turn them over to civil authorities.

The committee said the Holy See should also hand over its archives on sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children so that culprits, as well as “those who concealed their crimes”, could be held accountable.

The watchdog’s exceptionally blunt paper, the most far-reaching critique of the Church hierarchy by the world body, followed its public grilling of Vatican officials last month.


  1. Al Dente says

    That “the UN is interfering with church teachings.”

    Child rape and forced labor are church teachings? That must be in the Secret Baltimore Catechism.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the decades-long sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests …

    That’s off by at least one order of magnitude.

    Unless they’re counting one case at a time: after two decades of abuse, of course, the abusee is no longer a minor.

  3. Omar Puhleez says

    I note that the RC Church is making as much as it can of the alleged trespass by the UN committee into doctrinal and Church policy areas (homosexuality, abortion): perhaps hoping (perish the thought) that this move will draw attention away from the child abuse and the Church’s attempts to protect the perpetrators from consequences at law.

    Remaining doctrinal problems for the Faithful include:
    1. Can one get to Heaven without ever going to church?
    2. Can children ever get to Heaven if their parents refuse to leave them in the custody of a holy clerical band of paedophile brothers?
    3. Can a Catholic find an identity wider than his or her own immediate family one outside or beyond the Church?
    4. How much of all this abuse will the membership of the holy band of paedophile brothers have to answer for come Judgement Day?
    5. (A corollary of 4 above) How much of it all will God have to answer for on Judgement Day, for letting it all happen and doing bugger all about it?

  4. says

    I cheated a little. The bit about church teachings wasn’t actually the Vatican’s response to the demands to remove the abuser priests, at least according to the account I was quoting. But the fact that they go on pretending they have the moral high ground to talk about church teachings annoys me, so I cheated a little.

    As for the alleged trespass – their views on abortion and homosexuality are not private property. They want to force them on everyone if they can, so they are wide open to dispute and condemnation by everyone except perhaps governments.

  5. Al Dente says

    Ophelia Benson @4

    Regardless, the RCC continues to claim to be the moral authority on Earth while simultaneously acting in obviously immoral ways.

  6. shari says

    something i am hoping for (hm, if Padre Francis has twitter, does he have email?) is that the Pope’s attitude of austerity will drive a push to use the……obnoxiously enormous assets of the vatican to begin reparations – a penance of poverty, if you will – to the victims of the Magdelene Laundry, the victims of abuse by priests and other religious leaders, the victims of those who ‘moved’ the offenders to a new parish. For the decades of abuse and neglect, that is the least they should do.

  7. shari says

    well, other than also defrocking any one involved in these crimes against the innocent. And turning them over to the secular authorities!!!

  8. says

    The code of silence refers to the “Seal of the Confessional,” a guarantee that whatever a penitent says to the priest in Confession (Sacrament of Penance; Sacrament of Reconciliation) remains confidential. That’s an old and big deal in the RCC.

    But another part of the sacrament is the penance the priest assigns to the penitent — he or she must perform that , IIRC, to be really forgiven. That’s changed over the centuries; it sometimes used to involve public humiliation, e.g., but all I ever got in my RC days on the order of “Say five ‘Our Fathers’ and ten ‘Hail Marys’.” There’s no reason AFAIK for the confessor to tell the penitent to own up to his/her crimes and confess to the civil authorities as a penance.

    Gee, I wonder why they aren’t doing that?

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